Conservation Camp Memes

September 23rd, 2016

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This past summer 6th and 7th graders participated in Como’s popular “Camp Conservation”. Campers explored the field of conservation, got to know Como’s zookeepers and horticulturalists, and met the species they are working to protect, such as the Sumatran Orangutan, Wyoming Toad, and many species of orchid. They also discovered simple ways they could help endangered plants and animals at home and in their community, and had fun working on a photo project to encourage Como visitors to conserve and protect the planet. Campers learned tips and tricks from a professional photographer, and then explored the zoo grounds with iPads  photographing Como’s animals throughout the camp week. These photos were inspired by the conservation stories they heard during camp. At the end of the week, campers selected their favorite photo and paired it with one of ten conservation quotes and phrases such as:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss

“Conserve. There is no Planet B.”

Using an app, they created an internet meme. These memes are currently being displayed on screens in Como Park Zoo & Conservatory’s Visitor Center. You can also check them out below. If you know any youth interested in conservation, tell them about Como’s summer camps. Camp Conservation will be back in the summer of 2017! For more information on what Como is doing to protect wildlife, check out the link below:

http://www.comozooconservatory.org/about/conservation/#/conservation

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The New Youth Engagement Program Is Up and Running!

September 7th, 2016

The new Youth Engagement Program (YEP) is up and running at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory!  Throughout the 2016 – 2017 school year, program participants will grow as a team and work together to create positive change within their communities.  The young people will design and implement conservation-based projects with the support of Como staff and community mentors.

In August, a group of YEP participants attended a retreat at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center to being the team building process.  It was a great experience for everyone!  The youth worked together to share their perspective with you.  Enjoy!

Youth Blog:

We can all agree that we’d never seen stars brighter than that in our lives. Our time at Eagle Bluff forced us out of our comfort zones with challenges like night hikes and rainstorms. We were introduced not only to new aspects of the natural world that surrounds us, but also to our new group of peers.

Though our group was small, its intimacy ultimately allowed for more organic conversation, and connection on a deeper level. We came to know and appreciate each others’ differing strengths, and began to anticipate their roles in the projects to come.

In discussions focusing on global distribution of wealth and resources, we were reminded of just how daunting these global issues can be. Poverty, unavailability of heath care and education – these are concepts and realities that are often barely tangible not only to people our age, but to vast populations that are not directly affected.

Environmental awareness and action feels, at times, like an utter impossibility.

As we work to bridge the gap between communities and their natural environment, we hope that a new appreciation for local wildlife can be reached, and will result in the beginnings of eco-friendly changes.

Though we are starting small, we know that small actions can, in fact, lead to change.

From as small as the waste reduction strategies we learned at Eagle Bluff, we will make change. The small group of us at Eagle Bluff can’t wait to meet and start working with the rest of our team, as well as our communities.

Special thanks to Como Friends, Emily and the Eagle Bluff staff, and to our amazing leaders Steph and Jessie- thank you for making Y.E.P. possible!!

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A late-night rain storm provided the perfect opportunity to see which forest critters shared our path before our hike.  The retreat at Eagle Bluff allowed YEP participants to hone their observational skills creating a deeper connection to the natural world.

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Eagle Bluff staff facilitated a variety of group challenges for our group.  Here, our team works together to “ski” as one unit.  Team building opportunities like this foster communication, creativity, and self-confidence as each member contributes their strengths for the greater good of the group.

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An Out-Of-State Visitor’s Perspective of Como

September 6th, 2016

Visitors from around the world visit Como. Recently, some visitors from North Dakota spent some time at Como. Take a look at what they had to say!

Full story can be found HERE.

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Chloe the Sloth Turns 12!

August 23rd, 2016

Como Zoo staff and the visitors celebrated “Chloe the Sloth,” the resident Hoffman’s Two Toed Sloth  12th Birthday on Sunday in Tropical Encounters. Zookeeper Bree gave a 15 minute sloth talk about conservation and fun facts  of these unique furry friends. Chloe’s half brother “Stephano,”  Como Zoo’s Education sloth, made an appearance as a party guest as well. The public got to interact by blowing into quiet party  favors in the midst of  bird singing in the exhibit to relate to how sloths may vocalize but are often unheard. Sloths use other adaptations, such as their large noses for sense of smell;  to find their friends or mate in the rain forest of Central and South America.

Chloe also received a tomato cupcake on her resident tree which was a hollowed out tomatoes with steamed butter nut squash , noodles, and a strawberry. Zookeepers also brought a “guest” who was a cardboard cut out of the now extinct rhino; to help visitors see that changes and help must be made to conserve and preserve many of the endangered and threatened species. The rhino was unable to be present due to it’s  now extinct representation .

Visitors then got to ask questions and interact with keeper staff.

Photos by Jackie Scherer Photography

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World Turtle Day® at Como

May 23rd, 2016

On World Turtle Day®, zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) are highlighting conservation efforts protecting turtles and tortoises and are encouraging the public to join in taking action to help save the species from extinction.

Como is home to many different turtles and tortoises including Galapagos Tortoises, Mata Mata Turtles,  Pancake Tortoises, Radiated Tortoieses, Sulcata Tortoises, Wood Turtles, and Yellow-Headed Turtles.

About AZA

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.

About SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction

SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit AZAsavingspecies.org.

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Photos by Zookeeper Ruthie

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